Money: A Matter of Attitude—Broke or Poor

Do you have a poverty or abundance attitude about money? Which would you rather be—Broke or Poor?

Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail. ~Henry Wheeler Shaw

Being broke is a condition that many people are faced with at the festive times of year. The Holidays are jam packed with food, family, friends, and frustrations.

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It is okay to be broke now and then. Being poor is an attitude that goes bone deep. Welcome Abundance into your life.

 We desire to be, have, and buy all that will make our loved ones and ourselves happy. Just like the holidays in the winter, come the vacations in the summer.

We’re usually long on want lists and short on cash. It is easy to fall prey to the seduction of buying on unlimited credit and having to face the unrelenting bills long after the momentary joy is gone.  My old daddy used to say "Never spend money in anticipation of earning it."  Lots of things can go wrong before the bill is paid and the holiday is over.

We Are More than What We Have or Do

Often we, unconsciously, relate our worth to the world in terms of money or possessions. Our inner feelings on how we earn, save and even handle money are connected to our self- esteem. We judge ourselves at our worst and others at their best. We assume somehow others have the “secret” of satisfying everyone by throwing lavish parties and buying gifts without breaking a sweat or a fingernail.

Our worth as individuals is not tied to how much, how big or how many. Our worth is intrinsically tied to our ability to share our spiritual gifts. The truth is, money doesn’t buy happiness. We are so much more than what we have or do. If not, who are we when we no longer do or have?

Broke is Temporary

Look at our neighbors who have gone through the horrific hurricanes and other natural disasters this year. Most are mourning the loss of family, possessions, and livelihoods. The devastation was pretty non-discriminating with loss. After a blow like this, it will take some time to recover, financially and emotionally. Some people will bounce back quickly and others will never recover.  These are the kinds of times that can break our spirit, momentarily.

Broke is a lousy place to be, but the situation forces you to look around and think, “This stinks, I don’t want to do this ever again. What do I have to do to dig myself out of this hole? What options do I have or can I create?”

Poor is Bond Deep

However, there is also the condition of being poor, which affects your spirit and attitude. You can be poor and still have money and possessions, but you think of yourself as a victim. If you see yourself as poor, coming from a place of fear and lack, you will always be poor. Someone once said the best thing you can do for the poor, is not be one of them. That isn’t unloving or judgmental; it is a statement of not accepting poverty as inevitable or unchanging.

Presents or Presence?

The best present you can give anyone is unconditional love and acceptance. People who matter want your presence in their life much more than they want a present. Invite them to dinner, even if it is macaroni and hot dogs on mismatched plates. Write love letters. Give coupon books. Set an example by telling them honestly, “I’m broke this year, and I don’t want to incur any more debt, let’s skip exchanging presents.”

It is Okay to Be Broke, now and then

We have all been broke, either financially, physically or spiritually at one time or another and we may be again at some time. But we are smart enough to know that it is a temporary condition, and we will look for options. There are people who have money and then there are people who are rich.

No one’s poverty has ever been cured with a dose of money. The only way to cure poverty–which is a state of mind–is through an emotional change of attitude. Being poor is a choice.

Just promise me you will never choose to be poor.

Judy H. Wright is an author and parent educator in Missoula, MT. To download additional articles and to sign up for her ezine The Artichoke-finding the heart of the story in the journey of life please go to the website   To find out more about Dwain and Judy Helm Wright's Veteran Owned Business, go to  and you will understand the opening quote:

"Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail."   ~Henry Wheeler Shaw

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